BEYOND ELECTIONS: KENYANS YEARN FOR DEVELOPMENT
ATCHIU! It’s mid-term in Kenya’s political cycle. Early election fever is in the air like pollen during the spring season. Everybody who is anybody is positioning themselves for prime time news, commentaries, analysis, innuendo and hulaa baloo.
Enter president Uhuru Kenyatta and his recent State of the Nation address to the National Assembly. With his eyes firmly fixed on 2017, the president said that 2 years ago, his Jubilee coalition came to power with a promise of transforming Kenya into a developed country.
Then he outlined several projects the Jubilee administration hopes to complete as part of their 2013 election pledges: The standard gauge railway, expansion of port services, amount of new power generated and added to the national grid, new roads constructed, better health care for mothers through free maternity care in public funded hospitals, universal primary education, youth empowerment, slums upgrade and sanitation, food and national security. It was an avalanche of statistics. And it is said that statistics don’t lie.
The President and his Deputy came to office in March 2013 with heavy weight of ICC on their shoulders following accusations of complicity in the allegedly targeted, forceful displacements, rape and killings during the 2007 Post Elections Violence. The duo gambled with their political future by uniting two formerly antagonistic voting blocks. They injected new energy and dynamism into the country’s political landscape, created a powerful electoral machine and the payoff was their sweet victory.
The president’s case at the ICC has since collapsed. That of Deputy President William Ruto is limping along like a sad circus and could face the same fate and the DP may not be held culpable of the sad events that shamed Kenya so much. In the long run, the atrocities committed during the PEV could be forgiven as happened after the Mau Mau war or after the genocide in Rwanda, but will not forgotten any time soon.
That is why the president’s call for the creation of a restorative fund for the victims of those unfortunate clashes is so important. Justice is not only about retribution. It is also about restoration and community reconciliation. This laser focus on domestic agenda of the Jubilee administration was welcome news to many people concerned about the future stability of Kenya.
With the opposition galvanizing around the single issue of real and perceived corruption in high places, the president, in his address to the National Assembly, dropped a bombshell by asking anyone mentioned in connection with sleazy deals to step aside pending investigations by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
The official opposition seemed to have been caught off-guard by the president’s move. The Raila Odinga-led opposition resorted to their now-familiar song of saying No or Hapana in Kiswahili, to every move taken by the government. This reminds us of the famous No, or Nyet in Russian, which characterized the Soviet Union voting at the United Nations before the collapse of communism.
The ink is hardly dry of numerous reports of the clergy, civic groups and opposition politicians calling on the president to take action on corruption in Kenya or else the demos-crazy people will be called to action. It is unfortunate that for some Kenyans, it is good politics when the president is damned for doing something and damned for not doing anything on corruption. Sounds more like the Republican – Obama administration bashing in the US.
Development to make Kenya a 21st Century country is about tapping the public goodwill that makes the country so cosmopolitan and welcoming to people from all over Africa and the world. That goodwill is based on reasonable belief that as a people, our hopes and aspirations for a Better Kenya are achievable in our life time. God forbid that Kenyans should ever lose this goodwill.
By Leonard Njoroge, Diaspora Messenger Contributor – Email: [email protected]